Another season change. Fall is in the air, blowing through the birches in our front yard, turning their leaves into gold. Bringing cool winds and a familiar ache that lodges itself in my chest and won’t leave. Long afternoons at the playground, admiring the blue sky and the temperate weather, while Delphinium runs and climbs and swings with friends. Holding Azalea while I also hold this tightly bound knot in my chest. Missing you in so many impossible to articulate ways, overwhelmed with images and smells and feelings from the 2 glorious autumns you were with us.
I see the tiny Train Park across from the preschool on our way home from the bigger, more adventurous playground where your sister and her elementary school classmates prefer to hang out. We don’t walk down that street, so I spy on it across a lawn and garden between two apartment buildings. I experience the same dull ache, below my breast bone everytime. Like you might be there if we just turn down that street and stop in front of the big double gate. If we just lift the latch and step inside, you must be there, right?
Cheerfuly sitting on a bench, waiting for me to scoop you up and hold you close while we chat with the mamas and watch Delphinium play. Smiling at everyone and happy to sit and roll on the green turf while playing with sticks and leaves. Or maybe I will find the confident toddler scaling the steps of the small climber sliding down again and again, pushing my hands away and saying “no!”, you want to do it yourself. Surely you are there. Your three-year-old self running with friends, happy to see me at the end of your day. I can see your should be classmates from the nursery school playing together. Of course you must be with them. It smells like you should be and the trees bend and sway like you should be and the laughing and screams sound like you should be.
But you aren’t. And I don’t want to walk down that street. I can’t help myself from looking longingly across that lawn to imagine/remember you there, but I don’t want to look closely and see that you aren’t. So we walk down a different street and talk about Delphinium’s day and Azalea needing to nurse and what we will pick up at the grocery store for dinner. All the memories of sounds, and smells and winds walk with us, held in your tight tiny fist below my heart. Aching and aching and aching with every step home.